The GLBT Community and ENDA: A Case of Exaggeration?

It’s always risky mentioning anything about GLBT issues–damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I’ve previously written about my interactions with a lesbian, so I hope my occasional pressing ahead with GLBT concerns won’t be perceived as homophobic. Wherever you land morally on the GLBT spectrum, the topic is simply unavoidable.

With that caveat, in the January 2014 issue of First Things (pp. 3-4), Editor R.R. Reno weighs in his thoughts on the GLBT community and ENDA, i.e. the Employment Non-Discrimination Act:

…these days homosexuality isn’t much of a disadvantage. In some contexts it’s chic and popular. Moreover, gays and lesbians are very successful and well-placed throughout society. There’s no data about the sexual orientation or ‘gender identity’ of Ivy League professors, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they are dramatically overrepresented compared with the number of homosexuals in the general population.


I have no doubt that in many circumstances gays and lesbians fell put upon. A 2013 Pew study reports that 21 percent of LGBT respondents felt themselves discriminated against in hiring, pay, or promotion decisions. Sounds bad, but I’m virtually certain that obese individuals suffer discrimination at much higher rates. Smokers find themselves discriminated against in hiring and promotion decisions; white males complain about reverse discrimination. Everybody has a grievance, some imagined, others justified.

It’s important to put the feelings of gays and lesbians (and others) into perspective. A different Pew study reports that 88 percent of black Americans believe they suffer from at least some discrimination, with 46 percent saying they suffer a lot. Some of the respondents may misconstrue disadvantage as discrimination, but the social reality is plain to see. Yes, affirmative action works well for the talented few. But for the vast majority it remains a great disadvantage to be born black in America. That can’t be said today about those born with homosexual attractions.

Whatever one thinks of gay marriage, one has to admit that ‘the great civil rights issue of our time’ addresses the needs of a very small number of people.

From this writer’s perspective, who lives in Minneapolis, MN (consistently one of the top gayest cities in the United States), has a fair amount of ongoing candid personal dialogue with gay colleagues, and is in the very beginning stages of starting a new church in Minneapolis, I can’t say I disagree.